Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Suzuki Method for Piano???

I have never been a "fan" of what I had seen  regarding Suzuki Piano, and had somewhat ignored it, believing it to be a one-dimensional series that only taught memorization.    But, when I spoke with an adult student who learned piano with the Suzuki method and showed me the songs she was playing after six months, I started paying attention.

I'm looking very seriously into this method for some of my students.  I bought the book Studying Suzuki Piano-More Than Music along with Volume 1 of the Suzuki Piano School, just to see what it was about.

Studying Suzuki Piano: More Than Music : A Handbook for Teachers, Parents, and Students (Suzuki Piano Reference)Studying Suzuki Piano-More Than Music is essential for starting the Suzuki method, and it is recommended that you even get "certification" for this method, but I found some GREAT stuff in here.  It gives suggestions for all aspects of learning the piano, from the first lesson through the more difficult pieces in each Volume of the Suzuki Method.

After reading through some of the book today, I followed its suggestions and tried this method on my newest student, who is a wonderful 16 year old with ADHD and mild autism.  She took to the first lesson famously.  Because she wants to write music and play quickly, I had introduced the construction of scales and chords to her in her first few lessons from Chord Piano Is Fun.  When I opened the book to the first lesson, and showed her which "C" the song began on (Twinkle Twinkle), it was easy for her to follow and read.  She was excited that she was able to play Twinkle Twinkle with several rhythms (this is discussed in the Studying Suzuki Piano), so I gave her a quick overview of the rhythms with their useful phrases such a "Mississippi Hot Dog", and "Peanut Butter Sandwich" (for four 16th notes and two 8th notes). 

Suzuki does not include note reading, so that is something to do in addition to this, but they give suggestions as to which method is good for doing so.  Since the methods they suggest are too "young" for her, I will be using the The Complete Piano Player: Omnibus Edition (Complete Piano Player Series for her.  I plan on looking at the Music Tree series for the younger students, but may decide to stick with the Alfred method books, which have worked well for me.

In addition, I will use Chord Piano Is Fun, which will provide a wonderful, well-rounded musical education for her, as well as my other students.  She will be hearing, playing, and writing her own music in no time!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year!

It's the start of a new year, and new things will come! I love New Year's in that I often need times of "refreshment" to put things back into perspective and start anew.

This year some of my New Years' Resolutions for piano lessons will be:

Incorporating site-reading "games" into lessons and even combining lessons for students with classes next to each other.

  • Incorporating a Hanon "contest" for the students, with a reward for those who have mastered the most Hanons per quarter, based on ability.

  • Making sure that each of my students truly understand the minor keys and their relationship with the major keys (Lesson 18 of Chord Piano Is Fun!.) 

  • Have each student write a song in a minor key to perform at recital (Lessons 25 of Chord Piano Is Fun.)

  • Planning another performance for the retirement center.

  • Planning more "outings" to watch a piano performance.

  • Making "piano dates" with my other piano teacher friends in the area to talk about new ideas, what works, what doesn't, etc.

  • Connect with more piano teachers and their blogs and on facebook and twitter...what a great way to resource!

Would love comments on other ideas piano teachers might have for this new year!